Which are bowlers more likely to have, bowling shoes or bowling balls?

by JT McGee

More bowlers own their own balls, not shoes.I officially denounce my disdain towards bowling as a college course. Even though it’s time consuming, not at all related to my major, and a general waste of both time and money, I can now appreciate it for the small stuff.

Before each class, our professor has a quiz with random bowling-related questions for extra credit. There were several, like the maximum number of holes you can have in a bowling ball (the answer is 12, btw) but one was even more interesting: which are bowlers more likely to have, bowling shoes or bowling balls?

Bowling-Induced Critical Thought

I didn’t know the answer to the question, but here was my thought process:

Bowling balls:
1. You usually get one free for participating in a league.
2. A proper bowling ball will increase your score more so than your own shoes.
3. Your own bowling ball probably makes people feel like a boss.

Bowling shoes:
1. Saves some serious cash in shoe rental fees.
2. Some people (read: my girlfriend) find renting shoes absolutely disgusting.
3. Less expensive than a ball.

So what’s the answer? …bowling balls! The American consumer and financial irrationality strike again!

Round Up

  1. Financial Samurai says to do a cash-out refinance to save on your taxes. Given the love for the concept in the comments, I’m thinking I need to propose leverage as a tool against a new evil. Apparently people hate debt…except when it saves them on their taxes.
  2. FinancialUproar, who has a new and improved design, wants to know why mortgage brokers take themselves so seriously. My dad was a mortgage broker, so I’ll chime in: it’s the best paying job you can get in retail finance. “Retail” meaning not really finance, but the pay is rather fiance-y if you’re any good at it.
  3. Squirrelers had a great post on how prices for items vary from store to store. Are envelopes cheaper at Walmart or the office supply chain? Read to find out. 😉
  4. Don’t miss the option play on the Hong Kong Dollar over at Darwin’s Money. Macro investors will want to take a look at this.
  5. 101 asks if financial newsletters are worth the money. I don’t think so, but anyone who wants to buy me a subscription to Grant’s Interest Rate Observer is more than welcome to change my mind.

Photo by: Jeff Golden

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Moola Mails September 16, 2011 at 12:04

I think I would like to buy a custom bowling ball first, but if I bowled alot I would end up getting both in the long run.


JT McGee September 17, 2011 at 06:47

I bought shoes first because I’m a cheap dude. But, given my newfound respect for a quality bowling ball, I’d probably buy a ball first if I knew enough to know it to be worth it.


Daniel September 16, 2011 at 14:02

I took a bowling class (not much classroom instructions), but i guessed shoes because of the price and the savings. How can you roll into a bowling alley wheeling your 14-pounder, walk up to the counter and say, ‘hey, can I get some size 11s?’ Not cool in my book.


JT McGee September 17, 2011 at 06:48

That’s what I’m saying. My class has been really educational, actually. The professor is incredibly interesting, and very much interested in making everyone better at bowling.


Squirrelers September 16, 2011 at 15:46

Lol. I guessed bowling ball, but realize that shoes are expensive at lanes.

Now, I went back to a bowling alley last winter for the first time in 10 years! That’s right – 10 years. The price of shoe rentals is not cheap. If someone bowled periodically, a cheap pair of those shoes would payback in short order.

Here’s my take:

Serious Bowler: Both
Occasional Bowler: Shoes
Once every few years bowler: Neither

BTW – did well after not bowling for 10 years, but bragging about a bowling score would make me kind of a tool, so I’ll skip that part 🙂


JT McGee September 17, 2011 at 06:49

Ah come on, let’s hear about that score! 😀

If I could get over 200, I’d be yelling it off rooftops.


20's Finances September 17, 2011 at 08:34

Yep, I worked at a bowling alley in high school. The way that bowlers show off their bowling balls, it is a “no-brainer”. It’s amazing the different types of balls there are: glow in the dark, a 3D skull, etc. It was such a weird community, if you ask me.


JT McGee September 18, 2011 at 12:59

From what I gathered from the other students, the average college bowler is 99.5% white, middle class, and has a parent who is very active in bowling. I can definitely see where there’d be a “community” element to it, as it seems like people grow up into bowling leagues.


Funancials September 17, 2011 at 16:20

A community that shows off their balls isn’t called weird in my book; it’s called college.

I actually purchased a pair of Dexter’s for $15 a few years ago. Made my money back after 3 trips to the bowling alley.


JT McGee September 18, 2011 at 13:00

That’s what I did…I think they’re Dexters… I paid something like $25 for them and easily saved $100 in shoe rental fees one summer. Good deal!


Ashley @ Money Talks September 17, 2011 at 18:52

I can’t believe you have to take a bowling clas… and I really can’t believe you are enjoying it. haha. See.. maybe there is some value in college.


JT McGee September 18, 2011 at 13:01

You haven’t seen the rest of my schedule. It’s filled with things I don’t enjoy and thus put off for far too long–stats, calc, chemistry, accounting, etc. Bowling is, in the grand scheme of things, the best of the worst.


101 Centavos September 18, 2011 at 16:36

Bowling as a college credit, now that’s the life. Thanks for the mention, JT.


Cherleen @ The College Investor September 20, 2011 at 02:19

I am not really a bowling fan as I find it boring. But given the options, I would rather have a bowling shoe than a bowling ball. Aside from the fact that it saves you money from paying the rental, I find it more hygienic because you are the only one using it. Anyway, I can have a bowling ball the next time I join a league.


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